Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Everlasting Enigma

Life has become different. But I am not going to tell you that.

I have been criticized that civil service is taking over AS and I will soon get an identity crisis. As this comment is from someone who knows me better than myself, I think I should write something else.

So today, I will tell you a family fable, one that has been a longtime favorite of my mom. It has been recited by her every time my childhood is mentioned. I remember this incident more by her narrations, than in my real memory.

It happened when I was in class second. There was this girl who sat next to me. We were friends and we played a lot together. I remember two things about her, one that her name was written on her Tiffin box and second that she could pinch really hard. So we had a lot of fun those days; leaving the times she pinched me.

Once while playing a stupid game, she mentioned that she liked bangles. After that when I went to the market with my mom, I insisted that I have to buy bangles. Though somewhat confused, my mom agreed as she was used to my weird demands. I bought golden bangles, the one with stars on it.

Next day I went happily to school and gifted them to her. She was happy too and entire day we played with those golden bangles. But there had to come a twist.

After one day, she came back and returned me those bangles. She said with a flat face that her mom has asked her to return those. I do not remember if I was embarrassed to take them back, though I get embarassed everytime my mom recites this story.

In retrospect, I feel that was this was the beginning of my 'mis' encounters with the fairer sex. It has been an unending enigma. But whenever a girl throws a surprise at me, I can feel the tinge of taking those bangles back.

PS: Since you are reading this, I assume that you are a regular reader of my blog :). So I should tell you that that I am going on a long trek this time, courtesy LBSNAA and my next blog will come nearly after a fortnight. And yes, cadres have come and mine is West Bengal.

Friday, September 07, 2007

We Will Make a Difference

Ravi had done his B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur. He had topped in all his classes and now he had the option of going abroad or taking a job with a fat pay package. But then he had other plans. He was fascinated by freedom fighters. He dreamt of Gandhi calling for Dandi march, Bhagat Singh leading the revolutionaries and Nehru promising life and freedom for India at independence. Like them, he also wanted to do something for his country. He chose to be a civil servant.

Dharma belonged to a backward community. He was poor and had suffered caste discrimination throughout his childhood. But he refused to submit. He wanted this to change, not only for himself, not only for his village but for the entire nation. For this he saw a clear path, civil services.

Shirin was a physically challenged girl. Most of her life she had heard sympathetic talks. But she wanted dignity, and she also wanted the society to change its perception about her. She wanted to prove that she was equally capable and can contribute equally in the development of nation. She cracked the civil services.

All these are imaginary names. But there are many Ravi’s, Dharma’s and Shirin’s in the 81st foundation course at LBSNAA, Mussorie. About 300 probationers have gathered in the academy here from all over India. They belong to different regions, religions, castes, sects etc. They have different educational backgrounds and different exposures. They have many other stories too. But they have one common dream, to work for India.

Many wonder that why lakhs are attracted for this job which offers the toughest competition in the world and still offers a meager salary compared to the private sector. In the era of globalization many people thought civil services will lose its sheen. They gave it derogatory names like Babudom, or the big fat clerks whose only aim is to put red tapes. But to their utter surprise, a recent survey rated civil service to be the most coveted job in the country. It still attracts the youth who want to work directly for the country.

And no one can agree to it more than we probationers at the institute. All of us suffered the shortage of electricity, bad roads and inadequate infrastructure. We stood in queues in government departments and at times felt harassed by the slow system. But then, instead of cribbing about it, we decided to change it. We believed in what Kennedy said “Ask not what your country has done for you - ask what you can do for your country”. And we chose to do our bit by becoming civil servants.

We, in the 81st foundation course believe that we are the steel frame of India. We agree that civil services need a lot of changes. It has to be lean and thin, responsive, corruption free, efficient and effective. It has to deliver to the common man. But we also believe that it has the most important role in the emergence of developed India.

In the first issue of our journal, we take a pledge that we will make a difference. Things will change in India and we will transform the image of the Government. We do not predict a revolution but we will devote our lives in making our motherland a developed nation. That is a solemn promise of all Ravi, Dharma, Shirin and others like them present in the 81st foundation course.

PS: This is an article sent by me for LBSNAA magazine. The benefit of a blog is that even if it is not published in the magazine, I can have the solace of getting readers for this in my blog :)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

These days

Finally today is Sunday. Never before I realized in my life how precious Sunday is. As the state of my mind is filled with mundane things at LBSNAA, I can write only about it :)

The major happenings were the trek, dying of election fever, memos, return of my 'lonely' attitude and ‘murmerings’ of couple formation.

Yesterday we again went for a trek to a place called Lal Tibba. We walked for nearly 20 Km on tough terrains and believe me, some of it was really dangerous. We were briefed a lot about two things, one a scorpion grass and second leeches.

Though the scorpion grass made us feel its presence, we really missed leeches. I feel that poor leeches were given such a bad name that they decided to boycott our trek. Dear leech, please forgive my instructor for painting you in such a derogatory manner.

We also had a Bharat Natyam program, and remember the attendance was compulsory there. So all went there, willingly or unwillingly. Add on to it that you have to watch it on a friday evening when you woke up at 5 in the morning and have been busy since then. Though it was not very good, but I enjoyed it.

The thing I disliked about some officer trainees was their ‘comments’ during the program. An artist must be respected. Somehow I feel they have not got over their ‘Boys will be boys’ mentality. The thing that pains me more is the general acceptance of it.

And yes, at times I have started feeling alone. It is strange that this feeling hits me more when I am in a crowd. Though it is nothing uncommon with me, but I somehow felt I will not be myself in Mussorie.

Now about those ‘murmerings’. Though in nascent stages, the signs are visible during treks. There are 'some' lucky ones, with girls and then there are many others, who are keeping records of the signs. The real game will begin once the cadres come. I think many are getting geared up for it. After all ‘Cadre Marriages’ is the only rescue of candidates sent to north east.

In case you have any doubts, on a Sunday evening, I am sitting in my room, analyzing signs of others and writing blogs, so you know on which side of fence I am.